The site is just behind James Whitcomb Riley School (on Shelby Street, just north of Epler Avenue), which started out as an addition to the Edgewood building. The Riley building was opened in 1949 to ease the overcrowding of the main Edgewood facility. At that time elementary schools in Perry Township held all eight elementary classes.
The Epler family’s old home was located just west of the Edgewood School’s property, and I’m sure this property was once a part of the Epler’s farm. For years that house was the location of the township trustee’s office.
There were a couple of other Epler connections to Edgewood School. Mercedes Epler taught first grade at Edgewood and then at the Riley building from 1947-59. Her husband, Norwood Epler, drove a bus route, and I rode with him for a few years. His brother, Al Epler, also drove a township school bus and operated the Thrifty Corner gas station. His son, Morris Epler, was a great basketball player for Southport High.
The large number of outside basketball courts on the Edgewood School property gave young players the opportunity to play against really good opponents.
Paul L. Bailey was the principal of Edgewood School for many years. He was a good basketball player and shared his love of the game with a friend and local businessman named Frank Kautsky, who owned a local grocery store. Mr. Bailey invited Frank to attend some of the games being played at Edgewood by members of an adult league. That resulted in Mr. Kautsky forming the first professional basketball team in Indiana. Paul Bailey played on that squad and was the business manager.
The large cement memorial was once located over one of the front entrances to the school building. It has been in the care of former Edgewood student and Perry Township School Board member Richard Poppa. He contacted Ted Lobdell and offered to donate it. Ted and Barry Hix have organized several reunions and this special program.
After the ceremony there will be a get-together at The Corner Bar, 5506 S. Meridian St., corner of Epler and Old Meridian St.
A few days ago I drove over with Stuart, my therapy dog, and his stuffed dog, Pete to see how nicely the memorial was coming together. I suspect that Pete and a couple of other of my Edgewood memories will be with me on Saturday.
If you plan to attend and have memories that you can display, please bring them.
The location is the backside (south side) of the James Whitcomb Riley School (on Shelby Street, just north of Epler Avenue).
Shonk is a 1960 graduate of Southport High School, a ’63 grad of Indiana Central College (now the University of Indianapolis) and a retired bus driver from Beech Grove Schools.